Well, it’s that time of year again, the time of massage vouchers, fluffy bathrobes, and homemade cards with amusing messages within. Mother’s Day, the annual day of thanking yo’ mama, is upon us again. Catalogues are abundant with ‘gift suggestions’, cafes preparing for a Sunday morning of extreme brunch trade, and children are creating heart felt messages of appreciation in schools across this great, red, dusty country.
So, you ask, what are you doing for Mother’s Day this year? What are your fantastic plans? Luxury clothing? French perfume? Lunch at a chef hatted restaurant? Something equally fantastic?
Well, no. Not quite. Instead of spending quality time with my family and children, I will be spending quality time with my coworkers. For twelve hours. Twelve. Hours. No offence to the fabulous people I work with, but this is not my favourite way to spend Mother’s Day. Nor any other Sunday, actually. I plan to compensate for this by purchasing and consuming the biggest, dirtiest, carb loaded burger of my career. With chips. The loaded variety.
I have however decided to gift myself a Mother’s Day present of my very own. It’s something I need, which is great. But better than that, it is something that will cost me nothing. This should make my husband very happy.
I am pulling out of the competition for World’s Most Competent Mother.
Yep. I’m out. Done. Kaput.
Call me defeatist, and I will agree. Complain that I have lost my competitive spirit, that’s undeniable too. But the truth is, the damn competition is rigged. I’ll never win.
You see, whenever I win at one part of being World’s Most Competent Mother, I seem to fail at another. Working mum, who manages to juggle a demanding work role with the demands of mothering? Well sure, until I remember that I am also the mother who forgot to pay for the end of year movie day at school last year, leaving my daughter as the only kid who didn’t get to go. And let’s not forget the countless speeches/mini projects/homework tasks that I have had the best intentions for, but never quite found the time for. I’m clearly not effortlessly combining work and parenting when I forget to tell someone to take my kid to soccer training, either.
That’s not the only area where my win becomes a loss. Volunteer to coach my son’s soccer team? Win! Realise that this means that I will never be there to watch my daughter play in her team? Lose.
I even fail at the things I thought I would be good at. I can bake a mean cupcake, and my buttercream is to die for, but my decorating skills leave a lot to be desired. There was that time I threw two full cakes in the bin after a decorating fail, and ended up at Woolies buying sponge cakes and Betty Crocker frosting as they were closing the doors at midnight. Or the time I had grand plans for a multi tiered rainbow cake, but ended up with a cream cheese frosted rainbow landslide, and hands that were dyed purple for a week. It took an awful lot of close up photography and filtering to make that monstrosity social media worthy, let me tell you.
I make sure that my kids are surrounded by heaps of great friends, to make up for the lack of geographically convenient cousins in their lives. Kid socialising win! But then, I drink far too much beer with said friend’s parents – which I feel is also a win, but society (and holier than thou parenting types) kinda tells me is a fail.
See, no matter how hard I try, I can’t compete. I’m just not that kind of mother. I’m the kind of mother who remembers that they forgot to buy bread at midnight, and ends up breaking into the money box to pay for lunch orders. The kind of mum who lets my kids clean their own rooms, to their own standards, because I can’t actually be fucked doing it myself, yet again, only for them to destroy them, yet again. I’m messy. I’m loud. I let them watch “scary” superhero movies. I swear. I’d prefer to read a book than clean a kitchen.
I let my kids dress themselves most of the time, too. Which means my daughter is usually a mismatched rainbow of layers, and my eldest son generally wears shorts long after the rest of society has deemed it cool enough for jeans. My youngest son is pretty well permanently dressed as a pirate. I feel that my kids are a win for self expression and individuality, but judging by the looks I receive regularly at the local shops, they are perhaps a fail when it comes to high society. Considering my husband still wears the cargo shorts he bought before my eight year old was born, and I frequently attire myself like a teenager from the ’90s, I guess that the fail is a family bonding activity. Which pretty much makes it a win.
See it’s pointless, really, me even entering the competition in the first place. I wasn’t actually aware that I had entered, but somewhere along the way I found that it had grown around me. And I am so far from being perfect, that I can’t see how such a competition will ever benefit me at all. Worrying so much about what others think of my parenting, caring about whether or not my children/cakes/house/drinking habits are social media appropriate, it’s too much stress for me. So I’m out.
And I couldn’t be happier about it. Happy Mother’s Day, peeps.